With new waves of COVID-19 cases surging across the U.S., it’s understandable that Americans are still spending a ton of time at home—and decorating up a storm in order to make their places more versatile and functional than ever.
That, at least, was the latest finding of Houzz‘s 2021 Emerging Home Design Trends Report, which examined data on the top search terms on its site over a three-month period, from April to June 2021, then compared those numbers with a year earlier to see which trends are falling out of favor, or rising fast. And what’s clear is that our needs around the house have evolved way beyond your run-of-the-mill home office.
“With the home suddenly functioning as office, gym, classroom, restaurant, and more, the pandemic gave people time to invest in order to accommodate these new changes,” says Mitchell Parker, Houzz senior editor.
Consider these blisteringly hot trends some smart inspiration for your next round of renovations!
1. Rooms for specific activities, from art to wine tasting
No surprise: Searches on Houzz for the term “home office” were up 108% over last year. But we’ve branched way beyond that now. In fact, the terms “home theater” and “home gym” were even higher (up 190% and 156% respectively).
Wine lovers and those craving their own bar at home also drummed up interest for their activity spaces, with searches for “wine cellar” soaring 271% and “home bar” 277%.
“Families aren’t spending their budgets on entertainment, traveling, or dining, so their homes have to do it all for them, which is why home theaters and gourmet kitchens are also trending,” says Lacy Hughes at Julian Design.
But nothing compares to installing your own space to paint. An insane 10-fold rise of 875% on the phrase “art studio” means homeowners are practically dying to free their inner Picasso.
“People are making more of every space they have if they can’t build out, putting garages, basements, and porches to work as offices, gyms, and playrooms,” says organization expert Darla DeMorrow, of HeartWork Organizing.
2. Green cabinets, tile, furniture, and more
Per the Houzz trend report, 1 in 5 of us is opening up the kitchen to the outdoors by grabbing the color green. The result: Searches on the term “green cabinets” soared a whopping 829%.
Also trending big-time: “green tile bathroom” (up 771%) and “green accent chair” (754%). And homeowners with black thumbs embraced faux greenery with a vengeance. Searches for “artificial plants & trees,” as well as “indoor pots & planters,” went up seven-fold (658%) and four-fold (353%) respectively.
Design pros confirm the popularity of verdant shades and even muddy colors.
“Goodbye, cool grays. Hello, warmer earth tones,” says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.
3. Living room makeovers
Leaps in searches for “slipcovers & chair covers,” “abstract paintings,” and “display shelves” was reported as folks decided to rehab their main living spaces, perhaps in an attempt to get ready to finally entertain family and friends once again.
But the biggest gains in this room came from “accent pillows”—which was searched for an eye-popping 5,050% more than last year. Homeowners felt they couldn’t take those worn-out cushions one. More. Second.
4. Flex spaces
Sara Chiarilli of Artful Conceptions has seen more interest of late in multiuse pieces like Murphy beds, storage ottomans, and sleeper sofas that improve a space’s functionality. Houzz found the same—with queen-sized Murphy beds searched for 21 times (2,081%) more than last year.
A similar search rate held for the terms “TV armoire with pocket door” (up 2,259%), “nesting side tables” (up 1,918%), and “swivel accent chairs” (so fun!—and up 1,922%). All of these offer dual uses and creative hiding places without building out a new space.
5. Pool upgrades galore
Pandemic pool ownership was all over the news, and Houzz tracked this rise accordingly, especially “pools with water features” (think slides, fountains), with searches on that term up nearly 800%. Homeowners also sought out “rectangle pool” (up 576%) and their own lap lanes at home (with “lap pool” up 269%).
“Here in Florida, pool companies are running more than six months behind on new pool jobs, and when they do put one in, it’s an all-out project,” says Chiarilli, with designs that include fire pits, spas, waterfalls, and sun shelfs, which are long shallow ledges just below the water’s surface that allow you to bask while also cooling off.
6. Luxe materials
All things glam were also a big focus for homeowners, such as “velvet accent chair,” up a huge 1,161%. And if you were casting about for “gold table lamps,” you weren’t alone. Searches on that term were up 1,166%!
“Luxe materials have been on the scene for a few years as Instagram has made this trend pretty user-friendly,” says DeMorrow. Consumers have learned that a single shiny piece or two can be enough to pump up a space, without having to live through a big renovation.